Joe Wertz

StateImpact Oklahoma

Joe has previously served as Managing Editor of Urban Tulsa Weekly, as the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Oklahoma Gazette and worked as a Staff Writer for The Oklahoman. Joe was a weekly correspondent for KGOU from 2007-2010. He grew up in Bartlesville, Okla., lives in Oklahoma City, and studied journalism at the University of Central Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association might push Oklahoma legislators to extend some of the rights afforded oil and natural gas properties to alternative forms of energy like wind and solar, the Journal Record’Brian Brus reports:

Cities across the state are hoping to cut down their electricity and maintenance bills by updating street and highway lights with new technology. LEDs save energy and money, but doctors say the lights could have unintended health and environmental consequences.

David Glabas opens the door and squints his eyes. At the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the laboratory is outside.

Billionaire Oklahoma oilman Harold Hamm sharply criticized environmental regulations in a pro-Donald Trump speech on energy policy at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night.

The Continental Resources CEO's remarks came amid reports he would be named energy secretary if the Republican candidate is elected in November.

A spike of earthquake activity near the city of Blanchard has prompted state regulators to investigate oil and gas operations in the area.

At least nine quakes have been recorded near the small community southwest of the Oklahoma City metro, including 3.4 and 3.1-magnitude temblors within days of each other.

The shaking has ranged from light to moderate. The Blanchard quakes are outside a 15,000 square-mile zone established earlier this year, where regulators asked oil companies to reduce activity at disposal wells thought to be triggering the shaking.

Fire crews worked for nearly a week to contain a wildfire that started on March 22 and torched 574 square miles of land near the Oklahoma-Kansas state line, where it destroyed homes, killed livestock and damaged thousands of miles of fence.

This story was co-produced with the Center for Public Integrity.

Here in the land of wind-whipped, rolling plains, the gray dust, which sparkles in just the right light, seems inescapable. Residents of this town near the Arkansas line say they have spotted it on their grass, trees, ponds, barns, furniture and cars.

The State of Oklahoma and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation are clashing in court over the growth of a tribally controlled rural water district. The state is questioning the district’s legal status, but tribal leaders suspect the confrontation is about politics — not water pipes.

J.C. Goodson is in the plastic pipe business. He sells tons of the stuff — seriously, tons.

“That coil weighs 2,000 to 3,000 pounds depending on the diameter,” Goodson says, showing off truck-sized spools of polyethylene pipe that line the 10-acre gravel yard behind Rainmaker Sales in Shawnee.

Heavy rains delayed the 2016 wheat harvest in Oklahoma, but the yield could be better than recent years. Many farmers, however, are still making up losses from a drought that climatologists warn could be returning.

It’s a hot, dry and relatively windless day south of Altus in southwest Oklahoma. Eight to 11 inches of rain has fallen in the area over the last few weeks, and Fred Schmedt is on his cell phone trying to keep large trucks and tractor-trailers off his field.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s insurance commissioner has formally declared the state’s market for earthquake insurance is “uncompetitive.” The regulator says Oklahomans are unfairly limited when shopping for quake insurance.

119 companies sell earthquake insurance in Oklahoma, but Commissioner John Doak says just four companies have controlled more than half the market in recent years.

The commissioner says the industry has moved to raise rates and limit coverage as the shaking — linked to oil and gas activity — surged.

Oklahoma oil and gas companies are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by members of an environmental group that seeks to reduce production waste that could be fueling a spike in earthquakes.

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